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How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by C4ENG, Dec 12, 2010.

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  1. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    I am hoping some one out there has a good idea for a simple problem. These over head light fixtures have the top piece that screws off and then gives you access to the lamp. The problem is that some times they do not screw off easily and make a 5 minute job very difficult and long. I would like to just take a big chain wrench and twist it off! But a lot of people get upset when you make big deep dark marks on the pretty white paint.

    Does any one have any bright ideas on how to unscrew these fixtures with out causing damage?

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  2. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    Mr. Admin
    I thought I re sized this image to fit (120 KB) properly. What else am I doing wrong to make the pic go outside the viewing area?

    Admin note: Fixed!
  3. ScotL

    ScotL Senior Member

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    640 pix width.

    Size isn't everything:)
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Try a little Never-seize or even vasoline on the threads. A simple strap wrench would also be a little cleaner than a chain or even a damp cloth. That's regarding the lights. You're on your own with the pic size.:D
  5. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Had to read that sentence twice. At first, I thought you made a very funny remark about getting pictures to fit into threads.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Might work there as well.:D
  7. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    640 pix W, got it!
    Now how do you turn these **** frozen covers off without making tool marks? Strap wrenches do not work, they do not grab and you risk damage to the paint with the handle. Chanel lock pliers and a terry cloth towel is also a negative. Lubricants work great after you get the fixture apart, not when they are already salt crusted glued on!

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  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    1) RU sure these are twist on, not clips? Be sure before forcing.
    2) SEARS has a nice little strap wrench set with rubber straps & plastic handles.
    3) heat it with a hair drier
    4) use a damp cloth or one of those rubber jar opener things that are in everyone's kitchen.
    5) put a small rubber block against it and tap around until unfrozen
    6) put in a drop of penitrating oil and let it work for a day.
    7) Ask any lady whose had trouble opening a jar. They come up with some ingenius solutions.:)
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Tap them several times with a rubber hammer. Give it just enough force that you won't damage them. Sometimes tapping them loosens up the corrosion in the threads.
  10. dan1000

    dan1000 New Member

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    Heat

    Mouse Milk squirted in through a machinist's hypodermic syringe might work nicely without making a mess.

    But before that, I'd try differential heating as per NYCAP's suggestion. Aircon to 50 F for 6 hours, to cold soak it. Hair dryer or heat gun for a minute to try to heat the outer part without heating the inner part, for differential expansion. Depending on how they are put together, the reverse might be needed (ie: if the removable part screws "inside" the fixed part, you'd need to heat it for a while, then use something like a compressed air gun to cool the removable part).

    Dan
  11. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    How many engineers to change a light bulb..........Maybe none if light bulb manufacturers would make bulbs with multiple elements. Using micro electronics to switch from the failed element to a unused one in the same bulb. The question is how many elements can fit into a bulb, 3 or 5 or more,look how many transistors fit on a cpu.
  12. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    That's not a bad idea, but first they have to figure out how to make these fixtures water proof. The lights in the pictures are LED's which should be lasting 30000 hrs or some stupid number. Problem is when the deck crew washes down, water finds there way in and shorts out the little circuit boards. Funny how I can't twist half of them apart but water still gets in.
    By the way guys, great suggestions in getting these covers off, hammers, heat guns, mouse milk,, which will be making for good conversation the next time I am changing lights. But I was hoping some one had knowledge of a tool of some sort that would grab it and twist the covers off with out damage, possibly the rubber lid removers being the closet yet. And yes they definitely twist off NYCAP, I know for fact!
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When you can't find the right tool it's time to make one. However I think the jar opener should work if you can get enough grab. If not, this should work without maring. IMG_2452.JPG The handle is 6"
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Why not just replace the fixtures with new ones. Chances are it's voltage spikes that are killing the bulbs, LED's burn very cool so water doesn't usually hurt them too often. I've seen some with the entire light assembly full of water and they continued to work. I would honestly go around and unscrew every single fixture cover one by one and coat it with a light coat of anti-seize or superlube, both will help with the water, and they also won't stick
  15. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    These LED lamps really do not like water. They are soldered in as well, not like a nice easy screw in and out deal.

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  16. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    If water is truely the reason they are burning out like CaptJ suggested a dielectric coating over the electronics may be a cure. That can be anyting from a paint on liquid electrical tape (Look for the opaque stuff not the black) or spray on dielectric products,CRC makes some good ones.

    A solution from the manufactuer could be to put the entire disk in acrylic,there is enough heat disapation for the electronics while keeping them water tight. Done right the acrylic could act/replace the lens so you only have a single disk ,like a hockey puck to replace. You still will have either spade terminals or 2 wires sticking out,where corission can cause problems. Heat shrink works well.

    I love the small cordless butane powered tool Weller makes called portasol P1K. It has a solder tip,hot knife tip,open flame torch tip and a tip that blows hot air with no open flame especially designed for shrinking shrink wrap tubing.It's only 6" long and the diameter of a fat sharpie marker.

    Water and electrons never mix, and it's a constant battle to keep the upper hand.

    A high end solution would be to use fiber optic lighting with the light source in a dry place........one advantage is you can have a changing color light source for mood effect.

    I also realised I did answer the orginal question on how to remove the covers.
    If you can't get enough grip from those craftsmen whenches, I make a quick tool by cutting a piece of leather from a old belt to the circumference of the benzel(one side rawhide is best). Then take 2 or 3 smaller regular stainless hose clamps (as opposed to one large one) and make a loop screwing them togeather & clamp down tightly on the leather. The 2 or 3 screw heads will give you a surface to grip or tap with a small non marring hammer. Everyone usually has those SS clamps around.

    Good luck.
  17. Chevelle

    Chevelle New Member

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    Yeah those fixtures are pretty sweet right? Make sure you seal up the holes for the wires really good on the big fixtures. A chamois works pretty good as a gripper, but that was before 2 transatlantics! Good luck getting the footlight colors to match, even the manu. gets that wrong. at least those lights only have to turn a half turn to pop off. I used silicone grease to put them all back together.